Fireproofing limits damage

Fireproofing should be applied to structural supports and process piping components, specifically long bolt flangeless valves, warns the SA Process Safety Forum.

Fireproofing is an application of heat resistant insulating material, typically applied to the surface of structural steel, containment structures, barriers, or partitions, to delay heating from fire exposure.

Engineers and SHEQ officials should identify plant features that should maintain integrity until a fire is cooled or extinguished by active fire protection systems.

Without fireproofing, exposed structural steel, such as pipe rack support columns, could rapidly lose strength and fail, possibly within minutes.

Failure of piping and equipment supports could break pipes or cause vessels to fail, releasing flammable material, or transporting flammable material by gas expansion or liquid flow.

Fireproofing checklist

•    Check for damage to fireproofing on support columns or beams for pipe bridges, buildings, outdoor process equipment structures, and equipment supports.

• Periodically include inspection of fireproofing as a part of routine plant inspections.

• Report observed damage and check on repairs.

• After work that requires temporary removal of fireproofing on structural elements, replace fireproofing without delay.

• Mark and report damage to fireproofing on structural elements during other work.

• Damaged fireproofing could allow entry of water or moisture, that could hasten damaged and corrode exposed components.

PHOTO; Fireproofing often prevent structural collapse, thus limiting the magnitude of loss and allowing more time for fire fighting. Damage to fireproofing heightens the risk of structural deterioration and failure during a fire. (CCPS Process Safety Beacon)

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